The history of endemic Iberian ground beetle description (Insecta, Coleoptera, Carabidae): which species were described first?
Biological correlates of species description dates can be used to predict the characteristics of yet-to-be-described species. Such information can be useful in the planning of biodiversity field surveys. This paper explores the influence of five factors—body size, geographic range size, geographic location, habitat and number of congeners—on the probability of description of endemic Iberian ground-beetles, and attempts to identify the effects of each factor, alone or in combination, through variation partitioning. Small-bodied and hypogean species were found to have been described later, as were those with smaller geographic ranges, while the number of congeners did not significantly affect description date. Additionally, Eastern hypogean species were described earlier than Western ones because of major lithology differences from east to west in the Iberian Peninsula, and concomitant geographic taxonomic bias. However, effects of each factor alone are quite small in comparison with effects of the combination of factors, due to their considerable correlation. Thus, “rarity”, in its broadest sense, has been the determining factor of date of description of endemic Iberian ground-beetles. Previously, the technical difficulty encountered in the study of rare species retarded their description, whereas now they have become a “fashionable” object of study among carabidologists, due to the possibility of rapid publication. In order to improve the incomplete checklist of Iberian ground beetles it would be necessary to focus sampling efforts on marginal habitats and hypogean fauna.